cigar shop outreach

In my many conversations one that remains memorable is my conversation with Tom Kakadelis, Pastor of FHC’s Ballantyne extension. Tom’s an enterprising chap who’s been around the FH scene for quite a  few years.

In recent time he and his wife have set up a Cigar Shop/Club where men can come to smoke a pipe or cigar and buy what they need at the same time. He’s got furniture set up so they can be at ease and chat while they enjoy their politically incorrect pleasure. And before you react – we need to remember that this is the tobacco capital of the US, and that Charles Finney and Charles Spurgeon, and C.S.Lewis all smoked.

So Tom and a number of other Pastors from the area with some of their men make it a habit to show up there to chat with the guys that come in from time to time. They also host mini-events where one of them will facilitate a discussion of some burning issue (excuse the pun) that’s of interest to these men in the upper income bracket. This most recent event was about finances and the financial situation…not sure how many turned up but the Club has 70 members and 1400 email recipients.

The approach they took was to offer help in getting finances in order, to see the spiritual issues inherent in financial matters, and to talk guys through any tensions or disagreements with their wives and kids that have arisen over money concerns. A neighbouring restaurant will deliver food that guys can order by phone from the Club.

Tom and his helpers see this as reaching men with vices, just like the rest of us, without condemning.  They regard this as an opportunity to engage with a part of the culture of their area – meeting men where they are – in an environment that Tom and his wife have created. An outreach? Around smoking? Go figure…what do you think? Is this courageous or messing with trouble?

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